On Monday I asked: If you could read one book again for the first time, what would it be and why?
Check out those answers here! I think this is an incredibly interesting topic. I think we are impacted by all (or at least most) of the books we read, but there are some that just stick with us.
Here are some more answers to that question. Be sure to leave your own answers below!
If you could read one book again for the first time, what would it be and why?
Andrew: I don’t often return to the books I love, but I wish I could read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood all over again. Its mythic fact-weaving and cinematic movements made it one of the most supremely detailed page-turners I’ve ever read. Capote’s signature loquaciousness assumes a plainspoken drive that reflects the landscapes of Holcomb County, sharpening his scenes with slow-burning poise. The quiet of countrified America is asserted in its pages, yet danger is still felt everywhere.
Jump-cuts, flashbacks, and the balancing act between the inner and outer monologues of its cast almost seem ornamental in their perfect structure. But no pretense slows In Cold Blood down, making it easy to lose oneself in appreciation of its story and structure both as a whole and for their own distinct merits. As an aspiring journalist and almost-creative writer, the revelations and counteracting mysteries of In Cold Blood had almost too much to teach me about the necessity of reportage, restraint, and how to make the most of creative risks. The intuition that forms the questions we ask must be present in the conclusions we draft and commit to print.
Kim: One of my all-time favorite series is by Australian author John Marsden, Tomorrow, When The War Began. I LOVE a good long series. And while there is no feeling like being so into a book that you end up forgoing all other responsibilities/activities, I wouldn’t ever want to relive the devastation I felt after finishing something like Divergent. I didn’t recover well from that one…
More than just being a good read though, the Tomorrow series has a group of teenagers dealing with and contemplating a lot of the things I was dealing with an contemplating – but [spoiler] in the middle of a guerrilla warfare zone. It was the first time I let myself think, suburban bliss or occupied outback, there will always be something more important than whatever I’m struggling with, but that doesn’t make my struggles unimportant. An interesting revelation, one that I wouldn’t mind experiencing for the first time again.
I also read the first book the summer before starting 10th grade, as a super naive high schooler. I couldn’t do some of the things I do now, like anticipate imperfect endings, or predict quintessential plot points. I sorta miss that naive mindset, it made literally everything a great big surprise.
Christine: Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – I first encountered Inkheart as an audiobook in middle school. I wonder if I would have had a different experience if I read a hard copy first. People focus on different details as they read so the speaker may have stressed different words or concentrated on different phrasing than I would have by reading it. I also mentally pronounce certain names the way they were said by the British speaker. “DUSTfinger,” “SILva-tongue.”
I read Inkheart right in the middle of my YA novel frenzy phase so it holds a lot of emotion and meaning for me. I wonder if the book would have the same emotional impact if I read it now. I love well-written adventures with a lot of unexpected creativity so I would enjoy reading Inkheart for the first time again!
Alyson: The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo. I read The Alchemist during the summer after I graduated high school. I was a doe-eyed seventeen-year-old pushed out of high school far too soon like some sort of guinea pig. Skipping a grade is not something I recommend to the innocent and naive. When you read certain books I feel that they forever change who you are, and others just reveal a part of you that was always present but was never uncovered (sort of like gene expression, or just ignore my science nerd analogies). This prompt response is seemingly rambling on, but in a way I feel that’s what happens in The Alchemist. Santiago goes on this grand adventure in pursuit of his own Personal Legend and one event leads to another and leads to another and Santiago debates retiring his pursuit to go back home; he has lost his way. Seventeen-year-old me, too, had hoped to pursue my own grand Personal Legend somewhere deep in the Egyptian Pyramids, but The Alchemist taught me something else: to listen to the Soul of the World, and listen to your own soul. Recently I’ve lost sight of my spiritual side. I exercised no less than twice a week for my entire life up until last year. Grief and loss can change your life, or it can also reveal something about yourself that you had never known, but that does not mean you stop pursuing your Personal Legend; you should not stop listening to the Soul of the World. It has been about six years since I’ve read The Alchemist; I think enough time and life has passed through that I can read it again for the first time, with renewed purpose, more life experience, and wisdom under my belt to really appreciate and realistically apply the lessons it holds.
Thanks again to all my contributors for sharing their thoughts! Readers: what book would you choose?